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What you do is HUGE!

How many of you make your bed each day? I do. Then at the end of the day I know that I have completed at least one task for that day! That and brushing my teeth. However that task is more for others than myself. Making my bed is something that I started a long time ago, I am not even sure that it was something required of me. I was a voracious reader when I was young and could be found reading in some of the most interesting places. However, it was in my bed that I most loved reading, not under the covers, but on top, and one can only comfortably read on your bed if it is made. No blanket wrinkles on my skin for me. You may be wondering what bed making has to do with the work you do and touching the future. Am I telling you to make your bed? No. I am encouraging you to teach the children in your care to make their beds? No. Although modeling neatness and order will always be something I encourage.

It actually has to do with a book I read the other day. A book I found while looking for a graduation gift. It seems that I have several friends with children graduating from one institute or another and starting new chapters of their lives. I love giving books as gifts, see above for the reason why. I try really hard to find ones that will not only be enjoyable, but will share a value or practice that I find important to being a competent contributor to our great society. There are several children’s books I have given as gifts in the past; I am sure you know many of them. Sadly, one is out of print which prompted me to search for a new one. Thus, I stumbled upon, Make Your Bed: Little Things that can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World, by Admiral William H. Mc Raven (U.S. Navy Retired), (Grand Central Publishing, 2017). There were several reasons this book drew my eye. First, I make my bed. Second, I am a Navy brat and know a little about the life he talks about. And third, it’s a quick read. I highly suggest it – very short chapters, with humor mixed in, and a very straightforward, nonjudgmental approach to telling it like it is. Hold on though, this is truly not an official plug for the book, just a friendly suggestion from me to you.

The book is based on a commencement speech Admiral McRaven gave to a graduating class at Texas University (it can be found on YouTube if you are interested). It is a list of ten practices the graduates could incorporate into their live to make a difference in the world. He included some number crunching on lives affected by the things we do every day. This really made me go hmmmmm. I know us early childhood professionals love our lists. We also touch A LOT of lives in the course of our work. And this is what got me thinking… How many lives do we really touch?

Big question!  Those of you who know me, know that mathematics is not at the top of my favorite things to do – unlike reading… So, I got some of more number loving pals together to crunch numbers. Here’s what we have discovered….

There are approximately 200 early childhood facilities in the Family Connections service area… so let’s estimate that there are roughly 1000 professionals working in those facilities (averaging out family providers who work along and centers that employ a number of caregivers). If each of those providers interact and touch the lives of even 10 children and their families in their lifetimes, knowing this is a VERY lowball number (again averaging out 6 children in a family home to 16 children in a center preschool classroom) that is 10,000 people!!! Now, if those 10,000 people go out and impact the lives of 10 other people (and of course, we know this has the potential to be an even larger number) over the course of their lives, that is 100,000 lives!!! That’s twice the population of Great Falls, a little over 75% of the population of Missoula and almost the population of Billings!  We also know though that we interact with many more people than the children and families in our classes and program – you dear providers have the potential to touch the lives of all Montanans, spreading out to all the nation, and potentially the world!

I want all of you reading this to give yourself a big ol’ brain kiss! You are amazing and our communities could not function now, or in the future, without all the little things (that add up to HUGE things!) you do daily for those in your care. Some of what you do you may not even realize is touching a life (the instinctual smile given to a parent that has had a tough day that you give in encouragement), and some are acknowledge and celebrated (the first time a child ties their own shoe after months of practice and encouragement.) So, carry on, make those beds, read those books, tie those shoes, smile those smiles! And, know at the end of the day – we see – we see all those little and bog things that touch lives and make a difference. We thank you from the very bottom of our bed making hearts!

We will be announcing a new program very soon that will celebrate all you do and allow others to see and recognize all that you do! Watch your inboxes ?